Peruvian punk rock band releases its sixth album and plans a South American tour
Aeropajitas and “Lima Enfermedad” Thirteen, a lucky number? That’s how many years the Peruvian punk and rocknroll band Aeropajitas has been active in the stages of Lima, of Peru, and even those of Boston and New York City.
On the eve of releasing their sixth album, “Lima Enfermedad” with fourteen tracks and a video, we spoke with two of the enigmatic band members: Julio “Macha” (vocals) and Gonzalo “Gonzaleo” (guitar), so they could tell us about the band’s activities and expectations.
Apparently, this new album has inspired Aeropajitas to plan an international tour around the region’s rocknroll stages that could begin at the end of 2008.
Let’s begin the interview by presenting the band. Macha: Aeropajitas was formed in 1995. The first stage lasted until 2000. During that time we released 2 cassettes (“Porka Vida” and “Kría Cuervos”) and closed this stage with a CD compilation (“95-00”) released in Boston by “Cochebomba Records”. Te second stage began in 2004 and incluyes two CDs (“En Vivo” and “Képoka De Mierda”), for which some friends worked on videos for two tracks, “El Cocinero” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Uk0eKSMnmQ) and “Todo Sigue Igual” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZvgKtfjmsc). Also, the song “El Golpe” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJSTAQT1S2I) was part of the short video “Invasión a Panamá” prepared by an independent filmmaker in that country remembering the 18th anniversary of th Noriega coup and the US invasion. Now we are ready to release a new album called “Lima Enfermedad”, which should be available in September 2008. What’s the band’s current line-up? Macha: The band now has Eduardo on guitar, Gonzalo on the other guitar, Luigi on bass, Moko on drums and me, Macha, on vocals. What is Aeropajitas’ artistic orientation? Macha: It’s punk, rock and roll, hardcore music. We have gone back and forth between protest lyrics, politically oriented anthems, dirty rock lyrics, drunken fun, and ideological rants. But each member has his own style and musical influences. Generally, what stands out most now in terms of lyrics is that since “Képoka De Mierda” we have focused on songs about people’s experiences, and we have neighborhood friends and curious bandits as main characters in our songs. Tell us about some of those characters that stand out in the new album’s tracks. Macha: In the previous album songs had te theme of survival in the cement jungle called Lima. Now, we have worked on a series of ideas given to us by friends of the band, and so stories we had in common started coming out. Like that of the vicious and lost pimp in “Al Revés” and the small time dealer who tries to play in two opposing sides in “No hay donde”. Before going into greater detail on the new release, tell us more about Aeropajitas’ discography. Macha: In 1995 we released he first tape called “Porka Vida”. This drove us to play all over Lima. Then came the next tape, “Kría Cuervos” in 1998, recorded with a very low budget, and we continued to play almost everywhere in Lima. Then in 2000 the Boston label “Cochebomba Records” asked us to record a compilation of the first two tapes, in addition to some material we had then. This is how the CD “95-00” was made, and it was released originally only in Boston. Very few copies arrived in Lima, but bootlegging contributed a Peruvian version on CD. After intense activity in Lima that year and finishing recording, we took some time out. In that year our bass player Xavier traveled to the US and then I went. I was there three years, and in 2002 we put the band together again for a mini tour in Boston and New York, for which we were joined by Gonzalo (Manganzoides) on guitar, together with Xavier on bass, Moko (coming from Lima) on drums, and Macha on vocals. Those shows went really well, including one on May 1st (international labor day), with a lot of anarchopunks in the crowd. But after those shows we realized how difficult it would be to keep the band together over there. So I soon decided to go back to Lima and get together the people that were still there. After that, in 2004 we released “En Vivo”, recorded in the famous “Salón Imperial” venue in downtown Lima. In the meantime, we were preparing the new songs that would be included in the 2005 CD “Képoka De Mierda”, including one song as a tribute to the Spanish band RIP. All of our albums have been independently produced, with friends’ labels or by ourselves. What basic musical influences do you acknowledge as foundations of Aeropajitas current sound? Macha: Spanish punk rock like RIP, La Polla Records and Eskorbuto; radical Basque punk really hit us. And also US acts like Die Hunns, Lunachicks or Texas Terri. From Lima we like the first Leuzemia albums, Narcosis, Eutanasia, Héroe Inocente, Pateando Tu Kara, Morbo and some more along those lines. The sound of British 1977 punk has also had an influence. From Mexico and because of my time in Los Ángeles I also listen to a lot of narcocorridos; we have a version of “Las Nieves De Enero” by Chalino Sánchez. Also in that style, bands like Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Lupillo Rivera and Los Tigres del Norte have influenced our way of writing lyrics. Gonzalo: In the new album there is also more of a purely rockandroll influence, combined with the punk spirit that was there from he start. There is some more of a 70s guitar sound that is definitely not common in punk bands here in Peru. It’s a result of looking further back than before, including some punk pioneers like The Stooges, New York Dolls, The Damned, Dead Boys, and combining those influences with others that were already there like Spanish punk, The Clash, hardcore punk...
THE NEW ALBUM Let’s talk about the new album now. What’s new in Lima Enfermedad? Macha: It’s been created by a tribe. Several people got together to tell stories. It’s probably the most group-oriented album we have done so far, people will notice that the lyrics are all made socially, they talk about comrades, madness, and bandits. I particularly like to tell of how people in the streets fight it out in life, that’s the way we have learned to tell stories. Gonzalo: There is also a more polished sound as far the mix but at the same time it sounds more natural. We haven´t used too much distortion or effects. We used tube amps, good instruments, and very few digital or PC effects. The drums also sound powerful without too much processing. I think it sounds more like a live band in a way, even if there has been attention to arrangements and details. Can you tell us more about the contents of the album? Macha: Well, there are 14 punk and rocknroll missiles, including songs like “El Vicio”, “Condenado”, “Quisiste Huir”, “En el Infierno”, “Durmiendo En La Vereda”, “Lima Enfermedad”, “Líneas Negras”, “Al Revés”, “Apuesta Al Sol”, “Pisco Y Cigarro”, “No Hay Dónde”, “Decir Ke No”, “Agua Sucia” and “El Falsito”. The CD also includes a video, an insert and a sticker. Some of these tunes have already been played in recent concerts. A main idea here with this album is to have it heard outside Peru and to try to start a Latin American tour. For those interested in the album and the band, what channels does the band have to be contacted? We have www.aeropajitas.net, www.myspace.com/aeropajitas, www.purevolume.com/aeropajitas and the community http://groups.msn.com/resistenciaaeropajera. And the band e-mail is email@example.com. The name Aeropajitas always seemed curious and I never asked about it despite all the years I’ve known you. Is there a logical explanation or an anecdote for this name? Macha: The name comes from three places. One is that we were drinking when we were pretty young in 1994 and someone told a story that in some commercial airliner in the jungle a kid had been born whose last name was Aeropajita. And that because of his last name he got free flights for a while. Another is about ancient Greek wise punk rockers meeting in the Areopagus. Another more vulgar one is about masturbating (“paja”) in the air. Put all those together and choose the coolest one. How do you view technological development in recent years as expressed in the Internet? Is it positive for independent music? Or does it bring negative consequences? Macha: I think that the CD, not even mentioning vinyl LPs, is dead as a mass consumer product. Now people download everything from the Internet, even if it does not sound good for a music-lover to hear everything compressed. But you can’t do much, that’s how things are nowadays. Another point is that any show can be seen anywhere the next day on YouTube. In many cases this lets you communicate easily with bands, through Myspace. That’s good. Positive or not? I don’t know but it’s all we have now to disseminate what we do. Gonzalo: As far as publicity it’s excellent, from e-mail to Myspace and Youtube. You reach more people, have conversations with them, even people in countries who would otherwise never know you. But it has also facilitated piracy, so that being better known doesn’t translate into selling more albums, etc. , which helps to move ahead. In fact, you sell less every year, and selling music over the Internet has not caught on in Peru. So we are also losing a valuable resource to hep bands survive, which is to sell records. Which has been your most satisfying show so far? Gonzalo: I generally prefer small or medium shows. Massive concerts feel too impersonal, there is less interaction with the audience, and everything is less spontaneous. For me the ideal show now is one for 100 or 200 people in something like a bar. In Lima I prefer concerts downtown, which are in smaller places. Playing outside Lima is also great, but there are less opportunities recently. Macha: Once in 1998 the Yuyachkani theatre group organized a show at their theatre hall. It was a big party, most people weren’t punk or anything like that but we really captured the vibes there and everybody was dancing around the place. The shows in Boston and in New York at the ABC No Rio were also very intense. In Lima since 2005 we have played in festivals (“Unión Festival” and “Rock En El Parque”) together with other bands that drew up to five or six thousand people in populous districts of Lima.
THE LIMA SCENE Give us a general idea of the state of the independent scene in Lima or Peru from Aeropajitas’ perspective, as a band with many years playing there. Gonzalo: It continues to grow, but it is still far from more consolidated scenes in neighboring countries like Argentina and Brazil, or even Colombia, Chile and Venezuela. More and more people go to concerts and there are hundreds of new bands, but we lack a diversity of musical styles, too many bands sound exactly the same. Even in Chile, which is not such a big scene, I find that there is more diversity. There, in addition to what you would expect these days, like melodic pop punk, emo, more mainstream metal, commercial rock, there are bands playing psychobilly, surf, garage, things that virtually do not exist here. There are hardly any punk bands here that venture into more rocknroll styles or perhaps more experimental or post punk sounds. Things are improving, but slowly. Macha: The Lima scene continues to grow, There are bands like Morbo, a great band. Los Malditos Gatos, Mortero, Suicidas, among others are part of a new wave of punk bands. Los Protones play surf and garage. And the older bands: Tres Al Hilo, Héroe Inocente, Manganzoides. There are concerts with three thousand or more people in the Los Olivos district, for instance, that have a more commercial approach to rock. There are also small scenes in bars in downtown Lima, shows with 300 people that are fucking great, pure chaos. The soul of punk is there in Lima. In the Barranco district it also gets good sometimes in some small bars. And how does all this interact with Peru’s social and economic situation? Gonzalo: In the end, the social and economic factors around us determine our possibilities as a band, in addition to influencing lyrics and attitudes sometimes. The economy is supposed to be growing and growing, but exclusion and sharp class differences are still very much alive. People in one area often don’t go to the next one. In general, mindsets and expectation are very different, often strongly opposed, and that is not necessarily good for a musical scene or for a country. Macha: What can you do with a currency that worth three times less than the dollar? With a submissive government that gives its ass to foreign investors? What can you do with salaries of 150 dollars a month? Rock and Roll or join the mafia, ha ha ha … or both!!! Let us finish by asking about Aeropajitas’ immediate and medium term plans. Macha: Play rock and roll in a party for the end of the world. Play and make more videos. Gonzalo: We want to travel and play in other countries!!! Final words … Macha: Greetings to all the punk rockers of the world, and I hope that they can hear our most restless songs. Cheers!!! You can write the band at firstname.lastname@example.org. *Interview by Luis Espinoza of Konexión Rock Punk & Hardcore Radio Show: http://konexionrock.blogspot.com
Want to use these tracks in a commercial project/video?
esosssss chicossssssss del peruuuuuuu¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡
Que nos ha molao tanto vuestra cañita que os hemos incluido en la emison nº12de RADIO COPY LEFT
Y que lo mismo hacemos un festival con grupos COPY LEFT como vosotros.
Y que se pase la SGAE a pillar su astillita
y que como nos molan las pajitaaaaasssssss¡¡¡